A Three-Scratch Day

My son had some energy to release today.

It became clear at about 5am this morning that home wasn’t going to be the best place to release it!

He was tapping and banging on everything, marching around calling out at the top of his voice, playing rough and tumble hide-and-seek with his 2-year old sister and chasing a balloon around everywhere. All this before 6am. To be honest  – this is not really an unusual start to the day in our house hold. He doesn’t understand why we like to sleep so much in the morning. I think a sleep-in to 6:30 is not too much to ask …

Sending him outside for a play didn’t help – it just meant all the neighbours could share the early-morning wake-up call. That was a bit harsh for  Sunday morning! It didn’t seem to matter how many times I explained that early mornings need to be quiet times, he would nod his head and slink off to do something quiet … only moments later to be back enjoying some kind of physical or verbal release of energy, and usually it would be something slightly dangerous, inappropriate or just plain senseless. It didn’t seem like he was even conscious of his actions at all. It seemed like his body was operating independently from his brain, which (like mine wanted to be) was still asleep.

I read a little blog post recently about ‘loving the behaviour’ because children’s behaviour tells us what they need. I think we have learned to be pretty in tune with what his behaviour tells us. His sister is a bit harder to read. Without so much as saying anything we knew that today was not a day to relax at home and expect that our son just to keep himself occupied, as he usually can.

A trip to the local food market helped: being kept busy with buying and holding produce felt like an important job.

But it wasn’t enough.

After a super-quick morning tea we headed out to Numinbah Valley for a picnic and a play. The drive was long enough to be soothing, short enough not to fray a five-year-old’s patience. The rock pools were delightfully cold and clear. The lure of adventure just around the corner was calling strong – and off he went exploring.

It was the best thing for him. Here he could be as loud as he wanted to, he could run as fast and as far as he wanted to. He could challenge himself to climb rocks and trees and ford his way through the icy waters of the creek.

Dad and son went off exploring while our little one (who was NOT feeling adventurous at all) and I enjoyed the peace of resting together by the creek, and then later in the sunshine on the picnic blanket.

I could hear whooping and yelling from miles away, and when he had finished exploring, finished playing on the playground and finished running he came racing back to show me his war-wounds (three scratches with blood!) and tell me of his adventures.

With that we tucked into homemade pizza and home-brewed ginger beer for lunch (Yes! This is the gluten, dairy and tomato free pizza I made the other night! Very tasty!)

Then home again for a family afternoon sleep. I thought we’d be confronted with some significant resistance to this idea, but he simply said “OK” and lay down straight away.

It worked.

We have our son returned to us, and the some-what crazed look in his eyes has left.

So today we embraced his behaviour and it paid off … but today we were fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy a lovely picnic … not every day is like that … but I have a bag of tricks for those days. More about that another time.

Out of a possible Five, I rate today as a good Three-Scratch Day.

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